April 14, 2022
NASHVILLE—To provide the Oak Ridge Boys with dynamic and reliable lighting for their recent 2022 tour, lighting designer David Boots selected the lightweight but powerful Martin Professional ERA 300 Profiles supplied by Entertainment Rental Group.
Starting life as the Oak Ridge Quartet in 1947, the Oak Ridge Boys are indisputably one of the longest-running groups in American country music. The quartet’s current lineup––lead singer Duane Allen, tenor Joe Bonsall, baritone William Lee Golden, and bass Richard Sterban––was responsible for the band’s most well-known hits including “Elvira,” “American Made” and “Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight.”
After touring with the now-discontinued Martin MAC 250 Entour fixtures for 15 years, the group needed new, durable and long-lasting fixtures for the recent 2022 tour capable of providing an immersive and riveting experience for audiences. After working with supplier Entertainment Rental Group, David Boots, Lighting Designer for the Oak Ridge Boys, selected the Martin ERA 300 Profiles for their unmatched versatility, responsive programming and tour-friendly design.
“We had the Entours for about 15 years with 15,000 hours on them, and because of that reliability I really wanted to stick with a Martin product,” said Boots. “I also wanted something relatively the same size and hopefully lighter, because the whole lighting rig has to fit in the same trailer as all of our monitors, consoles and backline. The ERA 300 has really fit the bill so far. I've been extremely happy with it.”
Made with touring performances in mind, the ERA 300 Profile packs 9,500 lumens, CMY color mixing and a 1:2 zoom into a compact enclosure. Its size and dexterity proved useful for the Oak Ridge Boys’ minimal touring rig, fitting perfectly inside a trailer that follows the band’s bus. Additionally, the fixtures’ easy rigging system and light weight perfectly complemented the band’s flexible lighting rig, which consisted of eight adjustable towers spanning anywhere from 16 inches to nine feet in height depending on the venue.
“We play a lot of smaller venues, and getting everything on these really small stages is always a challenge, which is why I needed something with a smaller footprint,” added Boots. “The ERA 300s have been easy to set up because they are about 12 pounds lighter than the Entours. It's a lot easier to get them up on those taller trusses for larger shows.”
The ERA 300 Profile also features two layers of rotating gobos loaded with a wide range of effects, which allowed Boots to design a diverse set of lighting cues throughout the Oak Ridge Boys’ set. Most of the programming used for the Entours also carried over seamlessly to the ERA 300 Profile via DMX, making for an overall simplified and efficient lighting experience for the entire tour.
“The gobos have worked really well with our songs,” said Boots. “I wasn't sure how well I was going to like them, because I'm so used to seeing the same gobos for the last 15 years. But after looking at them and programming them into the songs, I was really happy with them. I've gotten quite a few compliments from different LDs about the gobos in particular. The speed of the fixture comes in handy, and overall they compliment the rest of my lighting very well.”